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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 63 - 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge - 2 Kings 1 - 4 Great Adventure A Journey Through the Bible

Day 63 

2 Kings 1- 4

Bible Time Period:  Divided Kingdom 
Israel split into rival kingdoms and fell into idolatry:  Help me to choose your kingship over other loves.  

2 Kings picks up where 1 Kings left off, with God’s judgment on Ahab’s son Ahaziah through the prophet Elijah.  Elijah’s mantle – and a double portion of his spirit – will fall on his disciple Elisha when the older prophet is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.  This is where “chariots of fire” imagery comes from.

Elijah is an important figure in salvation history.  He will appear years later with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration, where they speak to Jesus.  Together they represent the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).

The king of Israel ( c. 853 - 852BC) and the son and successor of Ahab.  Ahaziah reigned for barely one year. The chief event of his reign was the failed joint commercial effort undertaken with Jehoshaphat of Judah to Ophir using fleet of merchant vessels constructed at Ezion-geber.  His reign was ended abruptly when he fell from a window. To recover from his injuries, he sought assistance from Baalzebul, the god of the city of Ekron.  For this idolatrous superstition, he was condemned by Elijah and died soon after (2 Kings 1:2-18).
(Catholic Bible Dictionary, General Editor, Scott Hahn, page 30)

Elijah is carried up to heaven with Elisha as his witness (2 Kings 2:11).  There are a number of parallels between Elijah and Moses.  Elijah meets God at Horeb or Sinai, the place where God gave the Law to Moses.  Elijah is succeeded by Elisha, just as Moses was followed by Joshua.  At the end of his career, Elijah is taken away under mysterious circumstances, just as Moses was buried in secret.  
The translation of Elijah was also the basis for the belief that he would at some point return.  This idea was prevalent in the New Testament times.  Jesus was thought by some to be Elijah. And John the Baptist was asked also if he was the prophet.  Jesus replied that John the Baptist was indeed the new Elijah whose coming was foretold by the prophet Malachi.  Jesus also referred to Elijah at Nazareth when he noted that a prophet is rejected in his own country. (Catholic Bible Dictionary, General Editor, Scott Hahn, page 240 -241). 

Today's Reading

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Elijah Taken up in a Chariot of Fire - Giovanni Battisa Piazzetta

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